Lawsuit over “swan” in Colonia Allende continues
By Antonio De Jesús Aguado
In mid-2010, a swan-shaped structure appeared in Colonia Allende, and the media began to pay attention about a year later. A lawsuit to stop construction of the avian-inspired architecture was initiated soon after its appearance, but the issue has not been resolved.
Recently, the structure has been elevated six more meters.
Although the swan (many sanmiguelenses call it “el pato,” “the duck”) is not a threat to San Miguel’s Word Heritage designation, it generates a visual impact in the city that it is not permitted by urban regulations and must be removed, according to Edgar Bautista, head of the Urban Development Department. Eight years ago, the owners of the land located in Colonia Allende requested a permit for land use to construct some cellars, rooms and a parking lot.
Once the pato appeared, social activists commented that this put at risk the appointment of the city as a World Heritage site. In February 2011, Francisco Vidargas, manager of the INAH (National Institute of Anthropology and History), came to the city to inspect this structure and others. Vidargas said that the structure was not damaging historic buildings and could be removed at any time without damaging the city’s heritage or affecting the city’s World Heritage listing. Bautista acknowledged this information but said that “it visually impacts the urban image of the city; it is a discordant element that stands out from the architecture and for that reason it must be removed.”
Bautista commented that when the swan appeared the Department of Urban Development began an administrative process against the work, stating that the structure had not been authorized by that department and was not included in the plans presented eight years earlier. According to Bautista, the municipal judge ruled against the structure, but an amparo (appeal for legal protection) was granted and there is not a final resolution yet.
Recently, the structure was raised six more meters and provoked controversy again, and the ongoing lawsuit may be dropped and a new one begun. “We are starting a new process against this, because it alters the context of the urban zone,” Bautista said, and commented that the construction does not conform to the municipal regulations for construction.
The McDonald’s case
On a related note, a few days ago a rumor was spread in the city that McDonald’s was going to open on August 18 and that the municipality had failed to oppose allowing the fast-food restaurant to do business in the historic center. Edgar Bautista commented that the trial is in progress and there is not a final resolution yet. In a previous interview he commented that the trial could last months or even years. Bautista made it clear that the municipality took the correct actions when they cancelled the permits previously granted for the business.
In a little more than a month this administration will end, but Bautista said that he will keep working until the last day making the correct decisions for the municipality.